I think a great way to get the public more involved and informed on what's happening at the SC meetings is to publish the weekly agenda in The Mayor's Blog, PTO's the Melrose MA Community Group FB page, Free Press, Melrose Weekly News and other social and print media outlets. I'm not suggesting a link to the agenda rather, in full on form. The packet could be a link since it's lengthy. Follow up of the minutes should also be pushed out to all the same outlets.
Only few stakeholders have the time of thoughtfulness to go to the MPS QM2 Portal several times a week for information. Pushing this information out to the public will demonstrate whether or not the SC and the MPS Administration really want to have a relationship with the Melrose Community.
Honestly, I could do without the daily traffic updates that come close to 10:00am every day after I have already fought through the Melrose traffic and closed streets on my way to work. Note to City Hall, send the road closure information out in advance of the road closures and rush hour traffic and maybe people will be appreciative and find you to be doing your job well.
Same goes for SC information. Push this information out to the public instead of expecting the citizen's of Melrose to do all the work and dig around weekly for your information.
I think you misunderstand their motivation. They don't want you or any other citizen showing up or being involved with the School committee. Just look at what K Thorp and Margaret Driscoll have done to marginalize public comment and real deliberation between the committee and citizens of Melrose.
Looking at what happened Tuesday night, where the 6 (including two who haven't even taken an oath of office!) VOTED to place Margaret Driscoll as chair and Jessica Dugan as vice chair in their "preliminary vote", it should be obvious that there is zero hope for the district right now. It's so discouraging. Watching the principal of the HM get up there, taking advantage of the beautiful two boys and their innocent and sweet articulation to portray things as wonderful at HM even though the school remains a Level Three School (Yes it is!) with a terrible history of retaliatory conduct and a lot of other inexcusable educational problems (stemming from atrocious administrative problems), it's clear that spin is all that matters. Not one word was said about the full reality there. Apparently we're supposed to believe that the consistently poor academic results are because of the "high needs" kids (since they are the easy fall guys who can't defend themselves).
There weren't any Law & Order reruns, so I plugged my nose and watched the Tuesday night SC trainwreck play itself out once last time w/ the last hurrahs of Thorp and Constantine (and the dumbfounding speeches glorifying them by Dolan and Casatelli). Once again, the disaster that calls itself our school committee went through its precooked votes on the agenda it had obviously carefully vetted ahead of time with the mayor and his MEF lobby.
It was obvious that the SC had already communicated in serial fashion about their "leadership" choices (can't call it leadership knowing how literally crazed MD's past abuses of power have been and continue to be). They went around the room for the "votes" and only one had the integrity to call it for what it was, illegal and illegitimate. Shame on the two new ones for taking part. They didn't have to go along. They could have demonstrated some backbone. The disbarred attorney showed once again that politics and expedience are all that matters to him. His published braggadacio claims of not allowing any more of the 6 to 1 voting are bunk, as his first "vote" demonstrated. The HRC "commissioner" showed once again that it matters more to be accepted by this bunch (and the MEF that promoted her candidacy) than that this bunch, as the endpoint elected representation of the district administration, has already been found guilty by the federal government of basic civil rights violations and should be held accountable and scrutinized at every turn, starting with this illegitimate vote.
The agenda included a "task force" (another precooked and predigested fakery) presentation about late start times, to which MEF had an extensively orchestrated and quite mindless email bombardment of the SC regarding (yes, I'm on the list and no I won't ascribe to the sheeple behaviors). Once again only one member asked real questions and demonstrated that the actual students here matter, as she voted (alone, as usual) against the sheeple proposal to designate a 20-minute later start time for their "investigation" until a final determination next June, stating that she would not vote to give one group a benefit at the expense of the other (namely METCO students; and she was the only one willing to even say the word METCO, despite its being an elephant in that discussion).
It was striking that once again a financial/policy question was asked (by the only independent thinker in the room, of course) about a matter in which it became clear that the school/city has been violating state law in failing to have mandated caps on school activity funds. It was just another in the many examples of SC and administrator failures to uphold the law (look into the SPED history just five minutes, for example, and you can uncover endless examples), nothing earth-shattering in this case, but certainly a valid thing to question. Once again, RD demonstrated his anger management problem and tried to interrupt and unload disgracefully and ineffectively on his favorite target, who quietly stood her ground. He was so unhinged that he had to continue his outburst into MD's ear and then stomp out of the chamber until he could calm down, though he still looked like he was ready to punch someone when he sat down again.
The dynamic of this body is sick beyond reckoning. There is no indication that the public cares enough even to pay attention, let alone demand dignified and ethical conduct. Apparently there is a wide body of parents (not enough to sway a 62 to 38 percent vote against the override) who will hop-to when MEF and their figureheads put out the word for a letter-writing blitz (as they did for the mayor's 26% raise, too). This group continues to make sure the bad people in charge stay in charge to do their bidding, the kids and their needs be da$ned. Now this group is marching on with a "major fund-raising campaign" so that they can ram another lousy override proposal down the community's throat and get even more bad people elected and reelected. (It was the same people and board members from MEF who formed the campaign for the override, including some city employees. Ethics and laws, or even appearances regarding ethics, really don't matter to these people.)
Sure, get the agenda out there and then take the time to read it (yeah, it's not fun, but it needs to happen). That shouldn't be too much for grown-ups to do for their children and their community. But all indications are that the parents who might actually do this and have a meaningful impact are so far only interested in staying under the radar so that they don't upset Dolan or Driscoll, currying favor for MEF or posting their 20-minute outrage on a highly censored Facebook "community page." Indignities and injustices keep piling up here screaming for meaningful action. Maybe in the new year things will get upsetting to enough people that there might be enough intelligent reaction to motivate meaningful demand for comprehensive accountability. Enough seems to be the key word. Enough! One can always hope....
It is a good thing there were no Law and Order reruns on. Why not go to a meeting and speak out?
And why bother?
Your attention to detail is impeccable. "Beautiful two boys"? It was a boy and a girl representing the HM. No wonder you couldn't find any Law & Order to watch. Time for that eye exam!
Mea culpa. Spent that portion of the meeting listening rather than watching (it's really hard to sit and look at that bunch with the generally unpleasant demeanor of most. So honestly didn't pay much attention to gender of the two children other than to note that they both seemed like beautiful innocent spirits (who were being exploited for political gain). Besides, political correctness dictates that gender shouldn't matter anyway, right?
Just listened to a bunch of the recent aldermen's meeting and it was similarly distasteful. Some very forceful defensiveness from city officials about all that free cash. And curiously neither the superintendent nor school business manager could manage to be present for the end-of-year budget transfers or questioning (they're just too busy with their holiday preparations, no doubt). So instead the current School Committee chair and "future incoming chair" came to the table, a fairly outrageous thing considering that the SC only had an illegitimate "preliminary" vote that included two members who aren't even elected officials yet. Like everything else, it's all precooked, and the public is supposed to think this is an appropriate manner of conduct for elected officials.
Margaret could probably barely contain herself and was only too eager to be there at the table as the next chair (again). If she could have used the gavel even once, it would probably have made her Christmas! Why doesn't someone buy her a trap set and give her a padded room arranged like the aldermanic chamber? Just be sure to give her a pretend city solicitor (like the one we already have) to draft new pretend norms along with some pretend constables so that she can pretend to forcibly banish her enemies in between banging away on her various mallets.
How many Driscolls in education are enough? Margaret just tipped the scale!